For all but four fanbases the dream of winning the World Series has come and gone and it’s time to dream of free-agent signings and get ready for first-year player drafts in all your dynasty leagues. This year was a weird year in more ways than just one, we got a shortened draft, the J2 period got pushed back to January and Randy Arozarena is the talk of the postseason. We are going to go through every few weeks and talk about each division and its first-year player draft prospects.
Some things before we go through, this is to give a quick idea of what each prospect is and whether you should draft them. If I believe that any undrafted free-agents are of note I will add them to the list. No J2 players will be added to the list because they have yet to officially sign with a team making them ineligible in my mind for any first-year player drafts. I will also make note of where these prospects rank on Eric Cross’ 2020/2021 Top-100 FYPD & J2 Fantasy Rankings.
Keep in mind these are not rankings of specific drafts, they are just prospects of note in your first-year player drafts. Not every prospect will be written up because not every prospect will be of value to you in your drafts. The goal is to attack every division, and we will circle back to the NL East at a later date. I tend to think usually 80 or so guys are fantasy relevant in each first-year player draft cycle, but if you need help with prospects not listed feel free to tweet at me @RhysBWhite or you can email me at [email protected] and I will get back to you in a timely matter.
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First-Year Player Draft Prospects
1.16 Ed Howard, SS (18th)
The top prep shortstop prospect in this year’s draft. In the fantasy game, he shows decent raw power and has shown an ability to spray the ball around the field. He is a good runner, who will steal his fair share of bags. There is no fantasy area in which Ed Howard will truly shine, however, there is no spot that he will hurt you. 20/20 upside is there if Ed Howard is given the opportunity to run. If he can be a 20/20 threat, there is a realistic shot that Ed Howard is one of the games better shortstops which would make him a great pickup for your team.
2.51 Burl Carraway, RP (99th)
So this one is kinda strange because I don’t normally advocate drafting relief-only prospects in your first-year player draft rankings but I would draft Carraway. He has a double-plus fastball to go along with a plus breaker. It’s not hard to envision him being one of the games better relievers sooner-rather-than-later. He also has the stuff to be a closer, so a last round pickup could become the closer of the future for you.
3.88 Jordan Nwogu, OF (42nd)
Nwogu is one of the better athletes in your first-year player drafts. He possesses speed and power and has shown the ability to draw a walk during his time with the Univerisity of Michigan. There are questions about if he will make enough contact because hit bat-to-ball ability is raw. I would take the gamble with Nwogu, he has the potential to be a top 5 round guy in redraft leagues because of his power/speed combination.
4.117 Luke Little, SP/RP
So I struggled with Luke Little. He has immense upside with a fastball that is near elite, but he lacks command and even control at times. The breaker comes and goes. The 90th percentile outcome is Nate Pearson, the problem is Chicago has to all of a sudden become good with developing pitchers to get this done. I once wrote about Little and I still think he is worth a target, just later in your first-year player drafts on the off chance he puts it all together.
1.12 Austin Hendrick, OF (8th)
Hendrick has arguably one of the classes’ sweetest swing. There is big-time power in the prep’s bat but there is also some swing-and-miss to his game. He is a decent athlete who may be able to steal his fair share of bases. I’m not sold on him as a first-rounder in your first-year payer draft but if he’s there in the second I really like that.
2.48 Christian Roa, SP
Roa is one of the less exciting prospects in this article but I believe he can be a solid back-end starter in a fantasy rotation. He has decent stuff and could be slightly over a strikeout per inning. There is also some thought of his as a long reliever but that’s less exciting. If you are an upside chaser Roa might not be of interest to you.
CBB.65 Jackson Miller, C
Prep catching prospects in first-year player drafts are a crapshoot, especially ones that are more known for the work with their glove. Miller has a decent bat, and if you are patient Miller might be a decent catcher if he gets to the big leagues. There is no reason to reach for Miller, but he makes good contact and could unlock more power, just know he’s a catching prospect and it will take him a while.
5.143 Joe Boyle, SP/RP
Boyle has a top of the scale fastball and a decent breaking pitch, and he’s taking that to one of the better pitching organizations. Boyle has the most upside of any of his Reds compatriots and might be their highest upside arm. He is a big 6’7″ pitcher, who can get more extension. I would grab him late and monitor his progress. He may actually be an interesting relief prospect if that is where the Reds think he is optimized as a reliever.
1.20 Garrett Mitchell, OF (4th)
I have actually seen Garrett Mitchell, and I think he has the chance to be a stud. There is plenty of power and speed, and he profiles as one of the dynamic lead-off hitters we see in today’s game not these slap-hitters of yesteryear. There are some concerns about the swing but the Brewers are a smart team that can get him to not hit the ball on the ground as much. Garrett Mitchell is one of the guys I would target after Torkelson in your first-year player drafts.
2.53 Freddy Zamora, SS (48th)
If you had to grade out Zamora there is no plus tool but a bunch of above-average tools. Remember average tools are not a bad thing. Zamora maybe can get to being a 20-homer/15-steal guy who hits for a decent average. Expecting anything more than that might leave you disappointed like me on Sundays after the Lions play.
3.92 Zavier Warren, C/SS/3B
Warren is an interesting prospect, I do not believe you will have to spend a decent pick on him but he could be a quality pickup. He was announced as a catcher but he has played shortstop and third during his college career. The switch-hitting catcher doesn’t have crazy power but could unlock average power with the Brewers Player Development group. A father who can play other positions and have average power output is a nice asset and worthy of a pickup in your first-year player drafts.
4.121 Joey Wiemer, OF
Wiemer has a bunch of tools but has never shown the ability to consistently put it all together. He has never hit for power with wood but shows above-average power. His 6’5″ frame could easily handle more mass but he might lose some speed. There is an interesting fantasy player in there somewhere just if he gets to his potential is a different question.
5.151 Hayden Cantrelle, 2B (73rd)
So in first-year player drafts, I tend to chase tools, but I will take guys with bleh tools if I really think they can hit, ad I believe Cantrelle can really hit. There might never even be average power but there are a few examples of guys being fantasy relevant without power. If Cantrelle makes contact and can steal a few bases here and there that is a decent middle-infield option if everything goes right.
1.7 Nick Gonzales, 2B (5th)
Nick Gonzales is going to cost you a pretty penny in your first-year player drafts. He has the chance to be a plus hitter with sneaky plus pop. He could kinda be what we thought Keston Hiura would become. He makes contact and he makes hard contact. He plays second which is a decent position and if he can steal a handful of bases could be one of the better players at that spot.
CBA. 31 Carmen Mlodzinski, SP (66th)
That last name has to be worth some serious points in scrabble. Mlodzinski is probably never a fantasy ace, but with some reworking of his pitch sequencing pickup for you. I don’t envision him as anything more than a fantasy SP4 but that might have some value depending on where you can pick him in your first-year player draft. There is not overwhelming stuff but he has decent command which will keep the whip lowish. I’m not personally a big fan of Mlodzinski so I won’t be drafting much, if any shares, of him.
2.44 Jared Jones, SP (36th)
Also not a fan of Jared Jones. Maxed out physically high school pitchers are not my jam. I think Jones is a pretty high-risk proposition and I won’t be drafting the Pittsburgh Pirate, and I don’t think the ceiling all that high and I don’t believe he’s a great athlete. I may be the low man on Jones. The stuff doesn’t blow me away, so I’ll pass on Jones.
3.79 Nick Garcia, SP
I do really like Nick Garcia a lot in first-year player drafts. I even wrote about how I think he could be worth a pickup, and all that remains true to this day.
St. Louis Cardinals
1.21 Jordan Walker, 3B (24th)
I really like Jordan Walker in first-payer drafts. I think there is a chance for double-plus power coming from an average hitter. If it all comes together this could be a perennial 30+ homer bat from third base. I would rather him than fellow prep NL Central slugger Austin Hendrick and would gladly take walker in the back-end of the first round of any first-year player draft.
2.54 Maysn Winn, SS/SP (46th)
is he a hitter, is he a pitcher, is he both? Well, the Cardinals plan on trying him out at both so it may take a while. I like him more as a hitter where I think he could steal some bases and provide some power. If he is a pitcher there is some intriguing upside, but I rather him as a hitter, and I touched on this in a previous article.
CBB.63 Hence Tink, SP
Tink is an athletic pitcher with some solid stuff and some projectability. Of all the prep pitchers in this article, he would be the one I envision myself ending up with. I’m not sure the upside is all that high, but I think with his stuff and frame you can project out some growth for the young Cardinals farmhand.
2C. 70 Alec Burleson, 1B (83rd)
Alec Burleson is just kinda meh to me. I’m not sure where he is an asset, for a first-baseman he lacks the type of pop to make you excited. He doesn’t supplement that with a great hit tool.I almost didn’t include him because I believe he is that interesting of a dynasty asset.
4.122 Ian Bedell, SP
I think Ian Bedell has sneaky upside in your first-player drafts. There is a chance for a fantasy mid-rotation arm because of his swing-and-miss stuff. He comes from a smart Missouri program and if he can continue to pound the zone and get swings and misses this could be a steal for the Cardinals and your fantasy team.
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